In Jesus’ story of the “Prodigal Son,” the father is pictured as keeping an vigilant eye out for his wayward boy, hoping he will return. On the day the son returns, the father sees him “a long way off.” The father “runs” to meet the boy and, before they ever get home, the father calls for clothes that will cover the evidence of the boy’s transgressions and restore him to his place in the family.
I think of that when I read about sins being “covered” in Psalm 32.
It doesn’t imply a “cover up.” Everyone knows of the boy’s shameful behavior. No one will forget. Not even the father. Note that the father understands this wayward son has lost his inheritance and it will not be replaced. But the story isn’t about cover-up. It’s about forgiveness.
Forgiveness means restoration.
But forgiveness requires repentance, a change of heart that prompts a change of mind that results in a change of life. God may even prompt the change, as he does in Psalm 32, and if He does, the prompting may not be subtle. But here’s what I’d suggest: when we find ourselves under the heavy hand of God, rather than feel oppressed, we should feel loved. We are precious to God. If we weren’t, He’d just let us go. He is too holy and cares about righteousness too much to overlook our sins and take us back, warts and all. But until we change, there is nothing He won’t do to us to prompt our change, and nothing He won’t forgive when we do.