“But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.'”
1 Kings 8:18
Solomon communicates this to Israel and it is recorded for all to read. God told David that wanting, really wanting to build a place for God was a good thing. David was not allowed to build the temple, but God took note of the desire nonetheless.
There is, I think, a principle that I can squirrel away in the back of my mind here. God is definitely interested in what I do, since what I do reveals to others and to me what is in my heart. But God is also interested in what I plan to do and am, for whatever reason, prevented from doing.
David planned a good thing. He planned to build the temple. And his reasoning was that God had done so much for him (David) that he just wanted to do something in return. David had a house, it seemed wrong to him that God should not also have a place of His own. And God took note of that plan.
Likewise, I think, God is taking note of the plans that I make. I may plan to do something good and those plans are overwhelmed by other happenings — overcome by events (OBE) is a phrase tossed around at work, sometimes. So, if the good thing that I wanted to do; that I planned to do; that I made provision to be able to do is OBE, God still counts that desire to do that good thing. Does it count for the same? I don’t know. And I don’t need to know. This is, I believe, meant to be a comfort for people like me who hate to plan for anything because plans are so often OBE. God wants people like me to plan for the good things that we want to do — the service to Him and others, the helping and sharing and whatnot — and be aware that if our plans are OBE, He still gives credit.
The NT says that it is God Who is at work in me both to will and to work of His good pleasure. Those desires to do good things come from God Himself and He counts those times when I give place to those good desires that He has worked into me — regardless of whether or not I am able to complete that work. C.S. Lewis wrote that God is not so much after people that do particular things as He is after a certain type of person. The type of person in question is one who gives place to the desire to do good; who nurtures that desire and plans to bring it to fruition. Whether or not we accomplish every good thing we purpose to do is another matter entirely.