Yes, God judges based on effort, not results.
That having been said, action AND results are better. Or at least acting with the *hope* of results.
Let me put it another way.
The devil might have tried everything to stop it, but a missile (full of speed/fervor/destructive potential) is racing towards his HQ with devastating potential.
What will he try to do now? He will at least try to redirect it, so that it deals a minimal amount of damage to his kingdom. He will try to steer it off course so that it lands in an empty field.
The devil's first choice, of course, would be that we turn out wicked, apathetic, etc. so the missile never gets built, or explodes on the launchpad. But once it is fully manufactured (becomes a strong, fervent Catholic) and is launched, and all his anti-missile defenses fail to shoot it down, what else can the devil possibly do? He can only throw it off course.
Enter Prudence, the queen of all virtues.
I have made the same superficial observation as you. But recall the famous episode from the lives of the saints (I forgot which one), where God revealed that the holiest person was some pious old married lady. Keep in mind that marriage is not considered the highest vocation, or the quickest way to serve God most perfectly! The holiest person wasn't one of the priests, or one of the religious sisters who were plentiful in the area. The answer to the question was a *complete nobody* serving God, to a near-perfect degree, in complete obscurity.
Just perhaps it is as heroic today to (oh, I don't know) start a Catholic family with the willingness to accept all the children God sends, in a modern-day Sodom where keeping one's children unspotted from this world, and having lots of children, are the only "sins" left to condemn. One's very life would be a constant sermon of contradiction with the world. Such a course would seem to require all sorts of virtues: fortitude, hard work, trust in God, charity, prudence, humility, you name it.
Who, besides God, can step in and prove otherwise?